Pat Kose joined the LaFleur team in June 2017 as an account manager. Before coming to LaFleur, Pat worked in a similar role at the Zeeland, Michigan-based inbound marketing company CP Solutions. A native of Allen Park, Michigan, Pat graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising (a late switch from a film and video major).
We spent a few minutes talking with Pat about why he enjoys working with clients, what he’s hoping to accomplish at LaFleur, and what he learned during a post-college stint playing a medieval page in a children’s theater troupe.
LaFleur: Tell me about how you came to LaFleur.
Pat Kose: I was looking for a new job at the time, and I found LaFleur on ZipRecruiter. I checked out the LaFleur website, and the company looked right up my alley.
At the time, I worked for a company that did internet marketing for podiatrists, so the wide world of feet was my reality. Let me tell you, the self-diagnosis I can do, like if I stub my toe and it’s still sore the next day...
LF: So if any of us have a foot problem, we can send you a picture for an expert opinion.
PK: Pretty much. So anyway, I looked at the LaFleur website and read the team bios, and I was like, “Okay, these are the people I want to work with.” I also saw that Falon was a Notre Dame fan, so that pretty much sealed it.
LF: At your last job, client relations were a big part of your day-to-day work, and that’s even more true now at LaFleur. What is it you like about communicating and working with clients?
PK: It’s a nice combination of routine and repeatable work plus unexpected challenges. So it’s enough to keep you on your toes, but not where you’re feeling totally scatterbrained. And you can put a clear plan together for a client and then point to it six months later and say, “Okay, here’s where you were then and here’s where you are now.” That’s very satisfying to me.
LF: What do you want to accomplish and how do you hope to grow here at LaFleur?
PK: My big goal is — I mean, there’s so much room for growth here. We’re still a fairly small company and it’s a startup-type mentality and feel here, so there’s a lot of room for growth, both in terms of adding clients and on an individual level. So I’m looking forward to being able to dig in and help us grow rather than just keeping all the plates spinning, which was how it felt sometimes at my last job.
LF: Let’s talk about your life outside of work. I’d like to know the real Pat Kose.
PK: Well, I’m married and have a daughter. She just turned 1 this past Saturday. So that pretty much dictates my day-to-day existence.
LF: Yeah, that’s an adventure. Tell me about your first year of being a parent. What’s it been like?
PK: Um... good? (laughing) I had no idea what to expect going in, but everyone says, “Oh, she’s such a good baby.” She slept through the night starting at 3 months old, and she just started teething, so lately she’s been cranky... but, you know, we haven’t dropped her or forgotten her somewhere yet, so things are good.
LF: What’s something you weren’t prepared for that happened during that first year?
PK: Probably just the initial — you know, when you bring your child home from the hospital and it’s like, “Okay, I’ve got this kid now and it’s just us.” At the hospital, if the baby cries, the nurse tells you to try this or that, and someone’s constantly in and out of the room. But then when you get home, it gets real all of a sudden. Over the first three days, you get five hours of sleep total, and there’s just no preparing for that.
LF: And what’s been the most rewarding part so far?
PK: Just watching her learn stuff. She can give a high five now; she can wave hello. It’s amazing watching a kid develop day by day.
LF: So I assume that’s eaten into your free time a little bit...
PK: Free time, what is that?
LF: ... but when you do get time to yourself, what do you like to do?
PK: Well, I’m in a softball league for the first time in a couple of years. I’m also kind of a movie buff.
LF: What’s your favorite film?
PK: Forrest Gump.
LF: Interesting. That movie was a big cultural thing when it came out, and now I feel like it’s not remembered as well as some other films from the ‘90s. What do you like about it so much?
PK: Just the historical connections, I guess. I love reading about history. Historical biographies and historical nonfiction are what I tend to read, and so to see that kind of play out and get weaved into an interesting story is really neat. Plus, Tom Hanks is just the best.
LF: What’s something about you that people don’t expect when they first meet you?
PK: What people usually find surprising is that, right after college, I worked as an actor for a year. I started school in film and video, but I found I wanted to dive into the creative side moreso than the “how to light a scene” side. So, throughout college, I auditioned for student films and did some things with campus TV, but it was always a side thing.
But after I graduated, I was like, “Well, now’s the time — I’m young, let’s give it a shot.” So for a year, I ended up acting in a traveling children’s theater troupe while I did odd side jobs.
LF: What was your favorite role from that year?
PK: Well, the role I played most consistently... the setup was that it was medieval times, and I was a young page who needed to learn how to write a story to impress the queen and win a contest. So I played that same character wherever we went, and kids who attended, they would write their own creative story after we showed them how and they’d submit it to us. Then we would return and turn their little story into a skit.
So the cool part was calling a second-grader out of the audience and saying, “Hey, Billy, we turned your story into a play.” So, I played that page so many times — I mean, I could probably still do most of the lines. But the really great part was improv-ing the kid’s story right in front of them.
LF: Have you applied things you learned from acting in your marketing career?
PK: Yeah. Probably the improv part the most. You know, if you’re on a call or in a meeting and a client suddenly has a complaint or a pointed question, to be able to get through that without freezing, and just sort of thinking on your feet. Being in front of people and speaking in public isn’t a huge challenge for me after being in front of rooms of — I mean, granted, it was elementary school children, but...
LF: Personally, I feel like if you can hack it in front of a crowd of second-graders, you can handle yourself anywhere.
PK: Right. In a client conference, odds are nobody in the front row is going to pee their pants.
LF: We haven’t had that yet, thankfully.
PK: Well, if it happens, I’m ready for it.